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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Okay, so they were big and lumbering, mean and nasty and almost nobody likes them after the age of 12. What does it mean to be a dinosaur? Stuck in the old ways, irrelevant and, oh yeah, bound for the bone yard.

So when Rich Silverstein, adman and image wizard (his agency did the “Got Milk?” campaign) says “no client wants an agency that’s a dinosaur” who could argue? Here’s what he said in last week’s WSJ, “No client wants an agency that’s a dinosaur, and you have to be relevant. To stay relevant, you have to do new work for different types of clients.”

Part of what Rich was talking about was the importance of working on different kinds of projects for different kinds of clients. I totally agree with that. One thing that makes working at GVI fun is the variety of clients and projects we deal with over the course of a year. A quick glance at the Portfolio page of our website will show you what I mean: http://www.g-v-i.com/pages/portfolio.asp

Practically speaking the videos you’ll see there come from working in many different styles. Some projects are fast-paced, zippy and fun. Others are more serene, with a touch of elegance. One is somber and perhaps a little surreal, another takes us back in time to the Gilded Age. There are educational pieces, profiles, explorations of art and the artist and people-centered documentaries. What you won’t see there is a typical “GVI style.”
The issues we confront may be similar, but the solutions are quite varied. So maybe we’re more like chameleons than dinosaurs.

Because how we approach each project is based on the audience and what we need to accomplish. That’s really the key. And then we work on shaping a program and message to meet those goals.

And that’s my second take on all this. Because I think many of the old dinosaur values still apply. People still respond to work that looks good and addresses their needs and interests. And I still begin each project the same old way: I listen, reflect and then offer my best judgment on the way forward. But when I do the work, I like coming up with a different approach or trying something I haven’t done before. And I look for ways to keep the piece fresh and vital.
So maybe being a dinosaur isn’t all bad — as long as you stay light on your toes.

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